Argentina captain Lionel Messi has reacted to the brawl which occurred during their game against Uruguay in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers demanding respect from young players.
In a fiery encounter between Argentina and Uruguay, Lionel Messi narrowly avoided a red card after a tense on-the-pitch altercation. The Ballon d’Or winner expressed his frustration, demanding more respect from younger players following the match, which ended in Argentina’s first defeat at the La Bombonera Stadium since 1977.
Despite Messi’s clash with Uruguay’s Mathias Olivera, the superstar remained on the pitch as Uruguay outclassed Argentina with goals from Darwin Nunez and Ronald Araujo. The defeat marked Argentina’s first loss since the opening game of the World Cup against Saudi Arabia.
Messi grabbed Mathias Olivera by the throat 😂 pic.twitter.com/C7By3bGK48— Fancy Di Maria (@FancyDiMaria_) November 17, 2023
Regarding the incident, Messi stated, “I prefer not to say what I think about some gestures. But these young people have to learn to respect their elders.”
Reflecting on the match, Messi acknowledged the influence of Uruguay’s playing style under Marcelo Bielsa, noting the team’s intensity and fast-paced approach. Despite Argentina’s position at the top of the South American qualifying group with 12 points from five games, Messi emphasized the challenge posed by Uruguay’s physical and fast midfield players.
Looking ahead, Argentina will face arch-rivals Brazil in their next match, providing an opportunity to bounce back from the defeat. Coach Lionel Scaloni expressed confidence in the team’s resilience, stating, “Here you lose and win as a team, there is no other way. We cannot think that because we are world champions we will never lose. We are not unbeatable.”
Despite the setback, Scaloni highlighted the players’ sense of support from the people and expressed hope that the team would continue to navigate challenges successfully.